Saturday, July 18
Scripture: 2 Kings 17, 2 Chronicles 28, Psalm 46, James 3
2 Kings 17:7 This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.
For hundreds of years, the people of Israel had abandoned the Lord and worshiped other gods. God, in His mercy, was patient. But finally, judgment came, and it was disastrous. The nation was invaded, conquered, and the people taken away as slaves into captivity. The author of Kings tells us why this happened: “This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods.” He interpreted their national disaster theologically.
Later in the chapter, we see the same kind of religious syncretism happen when the Assyrians moved foreigners into Israel to occupy it. They brought their foreign gods which they continued to worship, and they also worshiped the Lord as the local deity. These were the ancestors of the Samaritans in the New Testament—and the beginning of centuries of disastrous animosity.
Abandoning God and worshiping other gods brings sure disaster. This is true both individually and corporately. It is true of individual people, and groups of people, whether churches, organizations or nations.
What are the gods that compete for our attention and worship? It can be anything that seeks to replace God as our highest value, but most often it is one of these gods:
- Money and things
The list could go on, but really all of them are rooted in the first one: self. We made a god of ourselves. I become my highest value: my pleasure, my will, my rights, my desires…me, me, me.
And where does that kind of selfishness lead? To sure disaster. Every time.
This passage reminds me to keep Jesus first—always. I’m still writing JOY at the top of my to-do list every morning. It’s my reminder to live Jesus first, others, then yourself. Jesus—Others—You. That’s the way to joy and fulfillment. When I become my own god, that’s disaster.
Prayer: Lord, help me to check my heart and keep You first in my life—always.